Freny's in Bandra Recreates a Scene from the Traditional Homes of the East Indian Community of Mumbai!

The two-storey Freny's in Bandra evokes a sense of nostalgia with its retro settings and a vivid display of East Indian culture through interiors, cuisines and the experiences of Chef Freny Fernandes.

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The ground floor of Freny's boasts the retro cafe culture from the bygone times.

In the vast and ever-changing landscape of Mumbai that whole-heartedly invites the migrants to make it a cosmopolitan, the originality of its culture and people has either been forgotten or is unknown to many. The cultural presence and existence of the East Indian Community — the original inhabitants of Mumbai — also suffer from a similar lack of acknowledgement by the residents of the cityPerhaps, that is the reason why Freny Fernandes is receiving applause from her community as she is on the voyage of representing her culture and traditions through Freny's — where we spent an afternoon admiring a reflection of an East Indian Home. 

Nestled on Waterfield Road in Bandra, Freny's, an all-day dining and bar, attempts to evoke the culture of East Indians in every possible way. This community, primarily from the coastal regions of Maharashtra, was converted to Catholicism by the Portuguese colonisers in the 15th century. They got their name, 'East Indian,' from the locals who worked for the British East India Company. However, it was the name that always preserved them from being mistaken for the Catholics who settled in Mumbai later. Time passed, but just like their distinguished name that remained unknown to many settlers, their culture also became restricted to their homes.

Bringing on to display, the culture long-forgotten 


The first floor in Freny's is full of elements highlighting East Indian culture with linen lamps, doilies on the speaks and chandeliers. 

The setup of such an East Indian home is on display through Chef Freny Fernandes's childhood memories, learnings, family traditions, and recipes, combined with her own international culinary experiences and skills. Freny's opens up to a two-story setting, with the ground floor dedicated to displaying Freny's signature experiments from her first dessert outlet, Moner. "It was mostly dedicated to desserts, but I wanted to give people the experience of relishing East Indian food as well," the chef says.


From family wedding photographs (top) to the books and vintage pieces on display, the first floor offers a homely setting. 

While the ground floor offers the setting of a retro café, the staircase—heavily adorned with Portuguese-style tiles—leads to another floor filled with nostalgia, reminiscent of Freny's experiences. The pastel blue walls are adorned with wedding portraits of three generations: her grandparents, parents, and sister. "I have kept two frames blank for my own," Freny chuckles. From doilies on the speakers to linen lamps and chandeliers reminiscent of old Portuguese churches, the interiors speak volumes about the erstwhile culture. The floor also features spaces holding Freny's books and replicas of vintage pieces. "People can read those books," Freny says, talking about the display.


A feast at Freny's gave us an authentic East Indian culinary experience while we also tried other items on the menu. 

Comfortably tucked in the contemporary-styled sofas, we noticed that while some of the elements portray the culture of East Indian homes, the space also evoked a sense of home with table mats featuring red and white checks and the scribbles we loved making on the tables while relishing traditional dishes. A soft East Indian bread, Fugiyas, is served here complimentary, and these slightly sweet bites were just enough to set our mood. The deeper traditions of the Freny Fernandes family are best reflected through dishes like Monica's Roast Chicken, her mother's recipe, and Peter's Mutton Curry, her father's recipe.


Tiramisu Dreamin and Sparkling Teaser complimented the food well for us

However, while Freny's has already garnered attention for these dishes, we went on to discover what more the place has to offer! And, for that, we savoured the Classic Mac and Cheese that was a feast to our senses along with Zucchini Fingers that serve best for quick bites. This apart, the Aapla Chilli Chicken instantly took us back to our own homes with sweet and spicy flavour. Going for the Bottle Masala dishes must be considered integral here, as they represent the East Indian tradition of spices. What kept us going were the refreshing and flavourful drinks: the Sparkling Teaser, which adds the perfect flavour of Jamun, and the Tiramisu Dreamin, which mingles Baileys with espresso and tiramisu, becoming even more appealing with a sprinkling of cocoa.


Maltida Cake (top) and Cookie Dough Pancakes (bottom) were the cherry on the cake for us. 

But can it be difficult to guess what won our hearts? Well, it was none other than the sweetness churned out by the chef with international culinary experience! It was a delight for the tongue to devour the Cookie Dough Pancakes, which were fluffy to the core. Along with that, we did not forget to try the beloved Matilda Cake; soft, rich, and true to its name. The taste became even more enjoyable as we discussed the movie Matilda (1996) and the inspiration behind it!


Chef Freny (right) spoke to Local Samosa about receiving applause from the East Indian Community for creating Freny's. 

Be it the dishes, the homely atmosphere, or the inviting nature of Freny's, it persuades you to visit again to enjoy the homely vibes and nostalgic charm of East Indian homes, or more specifically, Freny's home. "If you walk past the main gate of the house, there is a long trail of bougainvillea, and I want to recreate that same scene over the staircase wall," Freny says as she points to the walls with the Portuguese tiles and discusses her plans. She also looks forward to making space for Karaoke, aiming to welcome people to take a peek into the culture of her family. For now, regardless of the community you belong to, Freny's makes you cherish the East Indian community of Mumbai amidst the bustling lane of Bandra.

Freny's Bandra chef freny